Giro d'Italia: Merlier wins tough first sprint

Belgian rider Tim Merlier has won the third stage of the Giro d'Italia, the first bunch sprint of the Italian Grand Tour. The Soudal Quick-Step rider thus confirmed his reputation as a specialist of the first sprints in Grand Tours.

Tim Merlier has a habit of winning the first bunch sprint of the races he takes part in. He for example did so in the 2021 Giro d'Italia and repeated the feat in the Tour de France of that same year. He now did it again, thus obtaining the third stage win of his career in a Grand Tour. It’s already his eighth win of the current season.

But it was far from an easy victory. On a hill just before the finish, pink jersey Tadej Pogacar and Briton Geraint Thomas had gone on the attack, and those two favorites for the general classification were only caught in the final hectometres. It made for a demanding final kilometre for the sprinters.

“This was my hardest victory so far, it was a very tricky final,” said Merlier in the flash interview after the race. “In the last kilometre, I never found a good slipstream either, so I was always in the wind. I saw the 300-metre sign and told myself to get going.”

Merlier won just ahead of Italian Jonathan Milan. Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay came in third, ahead of another Belgian rider, Jenthe Biermans.

#FlandersNewsService | Tim Merlier wins third stage of the Giro d'Italia © BELGA PHOTO Luca Bettini / AFP

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